The lava explanation

With recent seismological events in Hawaii, I saw this headline posted by erstwhile news broadcasting outlet, CNN:

What follows is a breakdown of several (or more) historical attempts (e.g. bombs, walls, pumped seawater) people and organisations have made to try to prevent lava from destroying infrastructure – be that housing, roads or whatever – and a description of some of the properties of lava (e.g. density, heat) which have prevented these attempts from succeeding.

Incidentally, tubby Jedi Masters wearing wife-beaters and trying to use The Force was not on the list.

Essentially though, it all comes down to one reason, and so I’ve written to CNN asking them to amend their headline to save people from having to read the article and make (what I feel) is a fairly obvious deduction for themselves:

Did I really have to add the emphasis? I don’t know.
I mean, seriously, it’s not exactly rocket surgery, is it?

Choose your battles, folks. Stopping lava should really not be one of them.

Tenuous flesh-eating killer bug link

Usually, stories about flesh-eating killer bugs are enough to make the headlines all by themselves. Superstar disease, see?
But put yourself in the shoes of an online editor for a big News Corp and think how many clicks you could get if you tied it in with something else that also attracts a lot of attention.

Like a hurricane. That hurricane:

Yes. A man who was repairing homes flooded by Hurricane Harvey has died of necrotising fasciitis. By all accounts, he was a very nice man and this is a very sad story. But the Harvey link is rather tenuous at best.

Necrotising fasciitis (the ‘necrotising’ obviously has a Zee in America, by the way) is a nasty bacterial infection, caused by a range of different toxin-producing bacterial species. The infection gets into the body via a cut or wound, spreads quickly in the soft tissue between the skin and the muscle and can be lethal – as seen in the case of the unfortunate Mr Zurita above.

So:

Hurricane Harvey has claimed another victim, about two months after making landfall in Texas.

But has it? Has it really?

The only connection between this death and Hurricane Harvey is that Josue Zurita was repairing houses which had been damaged in the recent storm. There’s not even any evidence that the wound which became infected was as a result of the work he was doing.
There are over a thousand cases of necrotising fasciitis in the USA every year, and the only reason that Harvey might increase the risk is that people sometimes hurt themselves while doing construction work and right now there’s more construction work going on than normal in Texas.

“We’re surprised we saw three of them in the region, but given the exposure to all the construction and potential injuries that people would have… it shouldn’t be surprising. It’s well within what we would expect given those numbers,” said Dr. Philip Keiser, the Galveston County local health authority.

So even the local doc says he’s not surprised. And nor should he be, because I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations (rather unscientific ones, but still): 1,100 cases, divided by 50 states gives you an average of 22 cases per state per year or 1.83 per state per month. And in the 2 months since Harvey, there have been 3 cases in Texas.

So exactly what you’d expect, then.

So the stats say there’s nothing special about this, the experts say there’s nothing special about this, but you still go ahead and tell us that this guys died of this Hollywood bug, just to get clicks?

Donald was right: CNN is Fake News!*

 

* in this particular case, at least.